treating pine t&g soffit cladding

16 May 2010
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United Kingdom
I want to clad the underside of front overhang of my shed/garden-room in 11mm T&G - the overhang is about 900mm, so not insubstantial. (I'm lining the interior with the same stuff, so have bought extra)

The wood will naturally need treatment as it will be outside. I'm not fussed about staining it or anything, I just need to protect it from the elements.

2 questions:
Do I really need solvent based PU varnish? I'm told water based stuff is pretty good these days, and it'll be nice not to have to break out the white spirit. I'm Considering something like the Ronseal stuff screwfix sell.

I was considering doing the first couple of coats of the timber on the ground, prior to assembly, then fitting it and applying the final coat when it's up there -rather than applying 2-3 coats over my head, on a ladder dropping varnish all over me, etc.. Am I likely to regret this approach?
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